New Study Suggests Apple Watch Heart Rate Sensor Can Predict COVID-19 Up to a Week Before a Swab Test

A new study by Mount Sinai researchers has found that an Apple Watch can effectively predict a positive COVID-19 diagnosis up to a week before current PCR-based nasal swab tests (via TechCrunch).

mount sinai covid apple watch study
Published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Medical Internet Research, the "Warrior Watch Study" involved several hundred Mount Sinai healthcare workers using a dedicated Apple Watch and iPhone app for personal health data monitoring and collection.

All participants were also required to fill out a daily survey over several months to provide direct feedback about potential coronavirus symptoms and other factors, including stress.

The data collection ran from April through September, and the main point of focus for researchers was heart rate variability (HRV), a key indicator of strain on the nervous system. This data point was combined with reported symptoms associated with the disease, such as fever, aches, dry cough, and loss of taste and smell.

The Warrior Watch Study was not only able to predict infections up to a week before tests provided confirmed diagnoses, but also revealed that participants' HRV patterns normalized fairly quickly after their diagnosis, returning to normal roughly one to two weeks following their positive tests.

The researchers hope that the results can help anticipate outcomes and remotely isolate individuals from others who are at risk, without having to perform a physical exam or administer a swab test, preventing potential spread before someone is highly contagious.

According to TechCrunch, the study will in future expand in order to look at what other wearables can reveal about the impact of COVID-19 on the health of health care workers, including how things like sleep and physical activity may relate to the disease.

In related research that is ongoing, Apple is currently partnering with investigators at the Seattle Flu Study and faculty at the University of Washington's School of Medicine to explore how changes in blood oxygen and heart rate can be early signals of the onset of influenza and COVID-19.

Previous independent Apple Watch studies have shown that the smartwatch's heart sensors may be able to detect early signs of diabetes and provide early warning signs of atrial fibrillation.

Related Roundup: Apple Watch Series 7
Buyer's Guide: Apple Watch (Buy Now)
Related Forum: Apple Watch

Top Rated Comments

ethanwa79 Avatar
12 months ago
The Apple Watch could very well end up being one of the most significant medical devices ever made in human history, especially if they end up adding blood-sugar monitoring and more early warning diagnosis like this COVID-19 study. Could end up saving countless lives from all kinds of various conditions.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
wesley96 Avatar
12 months ago
It’s amazing how much heartbeats tell us.
Score: 17 Votes (Like | Disagree)
svanstrom Avatar
12 months ago

Surely it's "predicting" any illness? I know runners who regularly wear HRMs have ben using this fact for years. Resting heart rate higher than usual? Heart rate noticeably higher than usual when doing a typical workout? Body is probably fighting something. Or that pre-workiut double espresso has yet to work its way through your system.

I guess the news here is the amount of people now wearing HRMs, which is a good thing.
Yes, it predicts a wide range of [somethings]; which could be an infection, stress, not enough sleep, and so on.

But, whatever the cause is, the warning is valid.

Think of is as a warning light in your car; you can probably keep on driving like normal, but if you do you potentially take the problem from a quick fix all the way to a complete failure/crash/burnout.

What we're seeing now is that people wearing heart/health monitors like these makes it possible to turn on these warning lights waaay before they were noticed in the past.

So let's extrapolate from this, and guess a future feature that might be possible due to these findings:

The current Covid-19 apps focuses on tracking outbreaks, alerting those that potentially have been exposed; but imagine if these apps could use the heart rate data to tell people, long before they feel it themselves, that they just in case should stay at home.

We're talking about, based on what they say here, potentially a whole week of a spreader being out of the system.

Potentially this could in an anonymised format also be reported to the local health authorities; making it possible to predict major outbreaks based on the population's heart rates. They could even prepare/stand down healthcare services by predicting what will/might happen a week into the future; making it much easier to not burnout the healthcare workers.

These watches, combined with the magic of scientists, could be amazingly revolutionary.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sorgo Avatar
12 months ago
Wow, this is pretty massive news if accurate. Hopefully the technology continues to be put to use in a relatively benign and progressive way that builds upon not only warning someone of the possibility of a potential coronavirus case but of other maladies as well—all while, most importantly, protecting user privacy with the utmost earnestness.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
AlexESP Avatar
12 months ago
In fact covid and many more things. I’ve always seen my resting HR rise before I actually get sick, and with covid it was the same. But yes, specifically for this one it’s surprising how quickly it decreased from peak (75) to absolutely normal (45) in one day.



Attachment Image
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
adrianlondon Avatar
12 months ago
Surely it's "predicting" any illness? I know runners who regularly wear HRMs have ben using this fact for years. Resting heart rate higher than usual? Heart rate noticeably higher than usual when doing a typical workout? Body is probably fighting something. Or that pre-workiut double espresso has yet to work its way through your system.

I guess the news here is the amount of people now wearing HRMs, which is a good thing.
Score: 5 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

apple watch series 6 product red back

Apple Watch Users More Likely to Have Medical Procedures on Their Heart, Study Finds

Wednesday June 2, 2021 9:14 am PDT by
Apple Watch users with an irregular heartbeat are not visiting doctors more often, but they are more likely to be treated with a heart procedure, a study has found (via The Verge). The study examined 125 people with atrial fibrillation and a heart-monitoring wearable, such as the Apple Watch, who visited the University of Utah Health during a 90-day period, and compared them to a group of...
Exposure Notifications W People and Text

Apple Blocks Update to UK NHS Contact Tracing App for Breaking Location Data Collection Rules

Monday April 12, 2021 4:32 am PDT by
Apple and Google have blocked an update to England and Wales' contact tracing app that included a feature that would have collected user location data, breaking the companies' terms and conditions for contact tracing apps, the BBC reports. Last year, Apple and Google partnered up to announce a COVID-19 contact tracing API that allows apps to track whether someone has been in contact with an...
apple watch ecg

Apple Watch Likely to Gain Blood Pressure, Blood Glucose, and Blood Alcohol Monitoring

Monday May 3, 2021 4:03 am PDT by
The Apple Watch may gain the ability to measure blood pressure, blood glucose, and blood alcohol levels, according to newly-revealed information about one of Apple's chosen business partners. Apple has been revealed to be the largest customer of the British electronics start-up Rockley Photonics, The Telegraph reports. Rockley Photonics has developed non-invasive optical sensors for...
pixel watch prosser leak

Google Pixel Watch Allegedly Leaks with Circular Design, Rumored to Launch in October

Monday April 12, 2021 2:49 am PDT by
Renders of Google's first smartwatch, codenamed "Rohan," have been shared by Jon Prosser, showing that Google plans to adopt a circular design for its flagship wearable watch. Prosser shared the renders in an episode of his YouTube show "Front Page Tech," in which he claims they were made based on marketing material he had seen from a source within Google. The renders show that the Pixel...
night shift

BYU Study Suggests Night Shift Mode Doesn't Help iPhone Users Sleep

Wednesday May 5, 2021 3:50 am PDT by
A new study looking at the effects of low-light functions on smartphone users' sleeping habits suggests that features like Apple's Night Shift mode don't actually improve sleep at all. Introduced in iOS 9, Night Shift is designed to cut down on the amount of blue light that an iOS device puts out during the evening hours. The feature uses the clock and geolocation of an iPhone or iPad to...
prosser green apple watch

Apple Watch Series 7 to Feature Two Major Upgrades

Wednesday May 26, 2021 3:07 am PDT by
The upcoming Apple Watch Series 7 is rumored to feature two main upgrades, according to recent reports. The first significant change is a completely new design. Last year, Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that the 2021 Apple Watch would undergo a redesign. Now, leaker Jon Prosser has revealed renders purporting to be of that new design based on leaked real-world images and CAD files from a...
apple watch series 6 blood oxygen monitoring 1

University Health Network Launches Apple Watch Heart Failure Study That Uses Blood Oxygen App

Thursday February 18, 2021 12:32 pm PST by
The University Health Network today announced the launch of a new study that will aim to find out how the Apple Watch can help with the early identification of heart failure progression. Cardiologist Dr. Heather Ross is teaming up with Apple to compare data collected by the Apple Watch to data routinely collected from the physical tests heart failure patients undergo. The study will...
apple watch ecg

Apple Watch Can Accurately Assess Frailty, Finds Stanford Study

Saturday March 27, 2021 9:16 am PDT by
The Apple Watch can accurately determine a user's "frailty," according to the findings of a recently-published study from Stanford University (via MyHealthyApple). Frailty can be determined using a six-minute walking test (6MWT), and the metric is a general standard used to evaluate the functional mobility and exercise capacity of a patient. Higher scores indicate "healthier cardiac,...

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Review: M1 Max MacBook Pro After Three Months

Wednesday January 19, 2022 11:30 am PST by
It's now been a few months since the M1 Pro and M1 Max MacBook Pro models launched in October, and MacRumors video editor Dan Barbera has been using one of the new machines since they debuted. Over on the MacRumors YouTube channel, Dan has shared a three month review of his MacBook Pro to see how it has held up over time and how it's changed his workflow. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube ...
airpodsinear 1

AirPods Save Woman's Life With Feature Everyone Should Know

Friday January 21, 2022 2:13 am PST by
Apple's AirPods have been credited with saving a woman's life after a potentially fatal fall, People reports. When a 60-year-old florist in New Jersey tripped and hit her head in her studio, she lost consciousness and awoke heavily bleeding. With nobody around to call for help, she realized she had her AirPods in, and used a "Hey Siri" command to call 911. An operator was able to stay on the ...
iphone se 2020 top

New iPhone SE Likely to Launch in April Based on Production Timeframe

Wednesday January 19, 2022 6:44 am PST by
Apple suppliers will begin producing display panels for the third-generation iPhone SE this month, with final assembly of the device likely to start in March, according to information shared by display industry consultant Ross Young. Based on this production timeframe, Young believes the third-generation iPhone SE is likely to launch in the second half of April, or perhaps in early May at...
iphone 13 earpods

Apple to Stop Including EarPods With Every iPhone Sold in France From Next Week

Friday January 21, 2022 3:21 am PST by
Apple will no longer include EarPods with every iPhone sold in France, starting on January 24, according to a notice posted by a French carrier (via iGeneration). Apple was previously required to include EarPods in the box with the iPhone due to a French law that required every smartphone sold in the country to come with a "handsfree kit," but the law has now been changed in favor of reducing the ...
Spring 2022 Apple Products Feature

New iPad Air, Macs, and iPhone SE With 5G Likely to Be Announced at Apple Event This Spring

Thursday January 20, 2022 8:32 am PST by
Earlier this week, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman tweeted that Apple "will be holding a spring event" to announce a new iPhone SE and other hardware. In a recent edition of his newsletter, Gurman said the event is likely to occur in March or April. Gurman did not elaborate on what "other hardware" will be announced at Apple's purported spring event, but rumors suggest at least four products are...
appleeducation

Apple's US Education Store Now Requires Institution Verification to Buy Discounted Products

Wednesday January 19, 2022 2:22 am PST by
Apple is now requiring that customers in the United States verify that they're active students, teachers, or staff members at an educational institution in order to access education discounts on products. Previously, little verification was needed for customers to purchase products through Apple's education store in the United States. Apple's education stores offer models of the iPad and Mac ...
AirPods 3 New Firmware Feature

Apple Updates AirPods 3 Firmware to Version 4C170

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:46 am PST by
Apple today released a new 4C170 firmware update for the AirPods 3, an update from the prior 4C165 that was made available in December. Apple does not offer details on what's included in new firmware updates for the AirPods‌, so we don't know what improvements or bug fixes the new firmware brings. There is no standard way to upgrade the ‌AirPods‌‌ software, but firmware is...
appleprivacyad cleaned

iOS 15 Patched Security Hole That Potentially Exposed Users' Private Apple ID Information to Third-Party Apps

Thursday January 20, 2022 3:32 am PST by
Apple patched two significant security vulnerabilities when it released iOS 15 that could have potentially exposed users' private Apple ID information and in-app search history to malicious third-party apps and allowed apps to override user Privacy preferences, Apple has revealed in a recent support document update. With most iOS, macOS, tvOS, and watchOS updates, Apple provides a list of...
apple watch series 7 aluminum colors yellowbg

Apple Watch Charging Bug Fixed in watchOS 8.4 Release Candidate

Thursday January 20, 2022 4:01 pm PST by
The watchOS 8.4 release candidate that was seeded to developers and beta testers this morning addresses an ongoing bug that could cause some Apple Watch chargers not to work properly with the Apple Watch. Back in December, we reported on a growing number of charging issues that Apple Watch Series 7 owners were facing. Since watchOS 8.3, there have been a number of complaints about...